17 Hidden Hair Salon Fees


No one likes paying more than they bargained for at the salon, especially when money is tight.

“We post a large, current price menu in the front of the salon," says Diane Daly, a spokesperson for Hair Cuttery salon. But not every salon is quite so forthcoming. To stave off mysterious costs, Daly recommends "that clients ask upfront what the exact charges will be for the services requested." In other words, know what you're getting into.

Here's a list of the 17 most common fees to watch out for, along with tips for how to avoid them.

Dimensional Effects – This pertains to complex hair coloring. Ask what kind of coloring services your stylist would suggest and confirm the pricing for that service.

Long Hair – Ask if the salon charges extra, as many salons post surcharges that can range between $5-$20.

Hair Texture – Some salons have unique fee structures depending on the texture and thickness of your hair. One salon I know placed an “Ethnic Charge” on clients' services, until they were actually sued for it. That said, those with thick or textured hair may require more time in the chair because the hair can be difficult to work with.

Packages – If you opt for a “package” at a hair salon, particularly if you are recruited off the street (the recruiter makes a commission, which may quietly be passed along to you), make sure you confirm what services the package fee includes. Packages can often save you money, but only if the services are what you actually want.

Curling Iron/Flat Iron – Your standard cut and style won't always include “additional styling." Discuss what kind of finished style you are looking for and confirm the price.

Deep Conditioning – Alan Gold, creative director of The Haig & Co. Salon in suburban Philadelphia, boasts a clientele spanning everyone from socialites to politicians and television personalities. He says, “Conditioning treatments are supplemental. Ask what type and the cost before you start.” Styling after a deep conditioning service can also be extra.

Lump Tallies – Mr. Gold suggests clients  “avoid a lumped together tally. One never knows what lurks in the abyss," he says, so "ask for an itemized accounting of all your services performed at that visit."

Cancellations – Be careful to avoid last-minute cancellations. Many salons will charge a cancellation fee if you cancel within a certain time period (a percentage of the service fee is usually applied if you cancel within 24 hours, but some salons charge up to a full service fee for cancellations within a week).

Late Arrival Fees – If you tend to run late, ask your salon if it charges for late arrivals. Also make sure you won't lose your appointment.

Guarantees – If you are dissatisfied with the service, you might find that they will re-do it free of charge, or at a discount. This is important to be aware of if you are a tough customer or you are trying the salon for the first time.


Preparing for the big day can bring on all sorts of upcharges. Request a price card from your stylistup front then look out for some of these fees:

  • Prep Work – Some salons charge for extra prep work before styling.
  • Early Fee/Late Fee – This may apply if the service time is before or after normal salon hours
  • Extensions – Extensions are customarily extra, but there can be a sliding scale, depending on how many extensions you need, how long they are and if they are real hair or artificial.
  • Makeup - If you are also arranging the makeup through the salon, discuss the fees for traditional makeup vs. airbrush (airbrush lasts longer but often costs a bit more). Also find out whether they charge additional fees for fake lashes.
  • Extended Stays - Discuss whether you want the stylists or makeup artists to stick around for touch-ups. If your wedding day's going to be a long one, you might want someone to transition your look from daytime to evening.
  • Gratuity – When the work is done, inquire whether a gratuity has already been worked into the fee. As with restaurants, gratuities are often charged for certain sized groups.

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